Summer tends to be a time of travel. Whether it's plane rides across oceans or road trips across the country, staying healthy while traveling can be challenging.
Travel by its very nature requires motion, which, according to Ayurveda aggravates vata dosha. Vata is the energy of movement and when excessive causes gas, constipation, dryness, insomnia, anxiety and low immunity – among other imbalances. This is all compounded with the fact that our routine goes out the window when we're not on our home turf which is one of the biggest contributors to vata imbalances.
While I'm all about immersing oneself in the culture of the place you're in - even if that means eating food that you normally avoid, there are ways to minimize letting your healthy lifestyle completely fall by the wayside while you're jet setting.
I've put together an extensive travel healthy guide for you. Print it out and keep it in your suitcase to help you feel great and stay healthy while you expand your horizons and adventure to new places.
Food to pack
- Invest in a good thermos and fill it with a few slices of fresh ginger before you leave.
- Pack a baggie with a few bags of your favorite herbal teas like chamomile (calming + relaxing) or spiced tea like ginger, Bengal Spice or a rooibos chai all boost digestion
- Small Tupperware with a tablespoon each of miso paste, chopped scallion and dried seaweed or nori strips). If you don't like miso soup bring a veggie broth cube instead.
- Small container of your favorite greens powder
- Small container of chia seeds
- Supplements: Magnesium (for sleep + elimination), triphala (for proper elimination), ashwaganda (for stress + sleep)
- Socks and a big scarf for the plane (pashminas are perfect)
- Eye mask
- Rosewater in a 3.4oz or smaller spray bottle
- Small bottle of sesame (untoasted) or almond oil (these are great leak-free containers that you can also buy at Whole Foods)
- Yoga tune-up balls
- Calming and grounding essential oils like lavender, clary sage, rosewood, and sandalwood
Before you go:
- Give yourself a grounding oil massage the night before or the morning of travel
- Get enough sleep the night before (this means trying your best not to leave your packing for the last minute!)
- Write or type out a travel checklist and packing list that you can reuse every time you travel to streamline packing
For the plane ride:
- Dress in loose, comfortable clothing
- After you go through security find a coffee shop and offer to pay for them to fill up your thermos with hot water.
- Hydrate profusely throughout your trip and avoid iced or cold beverages (bad for digestion and further aggravates vata)
- Avoid drying, cold and hard to digest foods (that means no pretzels!), opt for moist and warming food instead like soups, curries, and stews
- Ask your stewardess for a cup of hot water to add your miso mix or veggie broth cube to
- Meditate during take-off and landing (Headspace has partnered with airlines to offer guided meditations through the inflight entertainment! Or use an app like Insight timer)
- Air travel is extremely drying which makes you more prone to congestion and compromises your immune system. Keep your skin hydrated with rosewater spray, oil your nostrils to keep your nasal passages lubricated, and massage your feet with oil
- If it's a long plane ride get up often to walk around and do some simple stretches in your seat.
When you arrive:
- If possible place your bare feet on the earth upon landing – it's the fastest way to ground and neutralize free radicals (and improves sleep!)
- Adjust to the new time zone as quickly as possible – use your eye mask at night if you're not in a blacked-out room, have a warm bath, do some stretching or roll on your balls, make chamomile or sleepytime tea and take magnesium and triphala before bed
- Maintain an active lifestyle - walk as much as you can and do a short workout in the morning (even a 7 minute high intensity workout is enough to boost your mood, energy, and metabolism for the whole day!)
- Take a thermos or water bottle with you with you wherever you go to stay hydrated and keep you regular : )
- I try to maintain my habit of drinking at least one green smoothie or juice a day while traveling. If you're in a city Google "juice bar" or simply make yourself a green drink every morning with your green powder and a bit of chia seeds (to keep things moving)
- Get into a regular eating and sleeping routine as quickly as possible to support your digestion and sleep
And most importantly, bring an open mind, a willingness to venture out of your comfort zone and a sense of adventure and curiosity and have fun!